Widely Available Media PlayerVLC’s popularity is also due in part to its wide appeal to users of all stripes since it runs on a full spectrum of both commercial and free OSes. Native versions of VLC are available for various flavors of Windows, OS X, Linux and Unix to more arcane OSes like Syllable. Users who run various operating systems will be pleased to find that VLC’s interface remains relatively consistent, requiring little to no re-familiarization. Furthermore, VLC’s menu system can be set to one of over 60 languages, making it easily accessible worldwide. In addition, a graphic equalizer, compressor and spatializer can be used to tweak audio playback while a large suite of video effects can be used as well. Basic video filters include hue, contrast, and sharpen, but more advanced options let users crop video borders, selectively zoom into a specific area of the video, or add effects like motion blur. Deinterlacing is also available to enhance the quality of interlaced video sources and can be set to use several different filters to best improve the image. A useful Media Information window displays all of the metadata, AV codecs, and other detailed statistics.
Features Beyond PlaybackBesides playback, VLC also provides video transcoding, allowing users to convert files while streaming to another device to ensure compatibility. Users can also save converted files to a new format. While the supported format list isn’t nearly as extensive as the formats VLC can play, the most popular audio and video types are covered such as MP4, WMV, MP3, FLAC, and OOG. Users can also choose the encapsulation method from a list that includes MKV, AVI, WAV, and older formats like MJPEG. Adjustments can be made to the file bitrate and framerate as well as height and width scaling to reduce the resolution and size of the converted file. VLC’s default interface is very trim with only a few controls in full view, however, a full suite of customizable keyboard Hotkeys allow for quick control and navigation. In addition to the usual playback controls like Play and Pause, there are keys for setting video aspect ratio, moving subtitle onscreen position, and changing subtitle delay. A bookmark feature uses the F1-F10 keys to quickly set and jump to one of ten places in a video or audio track, which is useful for audiobooks, instructional videos and the like. The handy snapshot key makes capturing a frame from the currently playing video simple. On top of Hotkeys, VLC also supports mouse gestures for playback control using your mouse’s travel direction.
Settings & CustomizationThe Settings menu allows for finely-tuned control of VLC’s interface and playback. Users can opt to use one of the many custom skins available, toggle Dolby surround sound effects for headphones, engage GPU accelerated video decoding, and the like Revealing the advanced settings provides users with an even more detailed list of over 150 individual control menus and sub-menus. Here, a helpful search function lets you quickly navigate to the settings you want to change. Neophytes should exercise caution especially in the more technical settings, but advanced users and AV professionals will find useful control for Muxers, Codecs, as well as plentiful audio and video filters and network options.
ConclusionIn all, VLC Media Player’s versatility, advanced controls and broad support for numerous file types make it a popular choice for media playback and conversion across the globe. The simple default interface will appeal to newcomers while experienced users will relish the plethora of controls and options. With development continuing apace VLC’s popularity, fans can look forward to even more refined features in the near future. Show Less
Simple, fast and powerful media player. Plays everything: Files, Discs, Webcams, Devices and Streams. VLC media player is a free and open source media player and multimedia framework written by the VideoLAN project. VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files and save them into various formats. The default distribution of VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries, avoiding the need for finding/calibrating proprietary plugins. VLC is a packet-based media player, and it can play the video content of some damaged, incomplete, or unfinished videos. For example, files still downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.
- Simple, Powerful and Fast
- Plays everything, Files, Discs (DVD, CD, VCD, Blu-Ray), Webcams and Streams
- Plays most video formats with no codec packs needed: MPEG-2, H.264, DivX, MPEG-4, MKV, WebM, WMV
- Works on most platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix...
- Completely Free, 0 Spyware, Ads or User Tracking
- Media Converter and Streamer